Five things Santa needs to know this Christmas

With Christmas approaching, we arranged a much-needed meeting with Santa to make sure that he was well-prepared for the holiday season, legally speaking. We thought we would share some of our advice to him. Don’t worry, he waived privilege!

 

1  Elves behaving badly

The Christmas period can be a difficult and stressful time. There’s a good chance that some of the elves won’t handle the long hours, the gruelling process of assessing the naughtiness or niceness of thousands of children and the logistics involved in planning Santa’s (very tight!) delivery schedule on Christmas Eve. It’s important then that Santa, like all employers, includes appropriate restraints in his employment contracts so that elves who pack it in don’t start a competing gift-giving business that undercuts his bottom line. He should also make sure that the elves are not permitted to approach Santa’s gift suppliers or other elves to come join their new business.

2  Santa Claus is coming to town

Climbing down chimneys is a hazardous task at the best of times and obstacles such as fire grates and soot blockages only make things worse. So Santa should make sure that each house he visits agrees to do all things reasonably necessary to allow him to complete his delivery efficiently and agrees to respond to any reasonable requests for access that he puts forward. He’ll also need lots of energy for the night, so he may also wish to include a requirement that each house make milk and cookies available in close proximity to the fireplace.

3  He’s making a list…

Santa’s gifts will need to comply with the consumer guarantees in the Australian Consumer Law – that is (among other things), each gift must be of acceptable quality, match any descriptions given in TV ads and be fit for purpose. No one likes ordering a Peppa Pig Fun Fair Playset but receiving the 101 Ways How to Barbecue Pork cookbook. However, if a child simply changes her mind on Christmas morning and now wants a Play Station 4 rather than a bike, Santa is not required to replace the gift.

4  I’m dreaming of a white Christmas

Many a parent deals with tantrums and tears on Christmas morning when little Johnny realises that little Sally received more presents than he did and when little Sally realises that little Johnny got a red bike and she only got a blue one. To avoid claims that Santa compensate Mum and Dad for the psychological damage they suffer on Christmas morning, Santa should make it clear that he is not responsible for any consequential or indirect loss that flows from the delivery of his gifts.

5  All I want for Christmas…

With the number of letters that Santa receives he needs to take care that he manages the personal information in those letters in a way that complies with Australian privacy law. He’ll need to publish a privacy policy on his website that makes it clear he collects names and addresses and the child’s gift preferences for the purpose of delivery gifts on Christmas Eve. Even if he is approached by retailers with a sweet deal, Santa will not be able to disclose the kids’ names and addresses for the purposes of direct marketing.

Contributors

Trent Le Breton Principal